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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I would like to know more about the eschete laws in maryland as it pertains to foreclosed real property
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 11, 2020

Escheat has almost nothing to do with foreclosure. In almost all contexts, escheat refers to the power of the state to take private property (and the very severe limitations thereon). Foreclosure refers to a private mechanism for selling property secured most often by a deed of trust or mortgage... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: My dad recently passed away. My mom’s name is not on the deed. As the spouse, does she have rights to the house?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 11, 2020

We need more facts to answer. Was she the spouse at the time the house was acquired or was it premarital property? Since you refer to them as your mother and father, we might assume this was a traditional marriage, but that is far from certain. If they bought the house while married, And they were... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Leaking roof after 4 days of ownership

I closed on my house last week. 4 days after the purchase we had a rain storm and the roof leaked in multiple areas, one area seemed to have been ongoing. There were areas that were tarred but the area was deemed sound at the time of sale and only cosmetic (I believe the contractor that assessed... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 6, 2020

Is someone at fault? Yes, but mostly you for not having a lawyer advise you on the largest purchase of your life. Now, you will need a much more expensive review to determine who, if anyone, breached their duties to you. Sorry. It cannot be reviewed without the contracts, the advertisements, the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My brother misled everyone about the will & the expensive jewelry pieces are "missing".

ROANOKE, VA NOT MASON, OH...My brother is the executer of my aunt's will that died Nov 2019. He's lied to all of us, supposedly the only 3 expensive pieces of jewelry are "missing" & he told the insurance inventory there wasn't any. He's a jerk to everyone, partly... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 5, 2020

This is the second time I've read this question, but I still don't have an answer you can DIY without a lot more interviewing and potential filing. You need a lawyer, and the lawyer may be able to petition for you to be executor because your brother declines to serve. If the estate is too... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: with married couples does et al by their name on a title mean anything like whoever folks she deem has part in title too

My wife's name has et al on the title mines doesn't. Does this mean that her folks or whoever she deem "et al" has a part in our title?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 5, 2020

Et Alia, as you seem to know, translates to “and other.” It is most often used where one refers to a case with multiple parties on the same side to shorten the caption. It’s just an abbreviation, though it does seem it might have been used improperly if the deed reads “Husband and Wife, et... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: In a bankruptcy, either 7 or 13, could I lose an investment property (single family home)?

A business partner of mine is considering filing for bankruptcy either 7 or 13. Me and him purchased a property together to rent as an income property. He's the only one on the mortgage. He's on the title and I'm on the title (via my business name). Am I at risk for losing the... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Aug 3, 2020

You would be wise to consult your own bankruptcy counsel, not to prepare your bankruptcy, but to plan options. You might want to buy him out in one way or another, and it might be better to do that from within his bankruptcy. It is an interesting problem, but, to answer your question, yes, you are... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Foreclosure and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Is it legal in MD to acquire a property via "subject to" instead of assuming a mortgage?

The owner would still have the mortgage in their name, but title would transfer to me and I would continue paying the original mortgage.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 31, 2020

There is just about a certainty that the seller’s mortgage note and deed of trust contain a due on sale clause. The seller would be creating a fraud on the bank... But, no worries. I doubt your deed would be accepted for filing, and, if it was, the lender would simply foreclose wiping you out.

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Where can I get a quiet title
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 30, 2020

Quiet title is the name if a cause of action to "quiet" claims that someone else enjoys title. It is an archaic use of the word "quiet." You get it by filing a lawsuit when your title appears to be encumbered. This is not at all similar, except in the vocabulary, to obtaining... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: I want to give a home that I own (no mortgage) to a friend. How do I do that? Are there any tax implications?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 25, 2020

There will be transfer and recordation taxes based, usually, on the appraised value of the house. There are also likely gift taxes, and you might be better off doing it differently, like through an irrevocable trust or a will.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My sister and I have Joint Tenancy and co-own a townhouse; How do we calculate her investment?

I have been paying all expenses for the property for the past five years and we secured a mortgage ten years ago. My sister now wants me to purchase her share of the property. How can I determine how to work this out since she has a “fixed” price in mind that does not match your investment?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 25, 2020

The answer is a bit of accounting followed by a negotiation. You should add up your bills paid with receipts, subtract the value of any disparity in use, like rental value, factor in income earned, and then negotiate. A mediator could be quite useful in this setting, and each side having a lawyer... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: A tree from the common area of the neighborhood has grown to the point is is resting on my roof. Can I have them trim it

I understand that I have the right to trim it on my own, anything over my property, but I want to know if the risk of the tree damaging my house qualifies as right of nuisance so that I can request the HOA trim the tree.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 22, 2020

The answer depends on what your Declarations and Bylaws say and what the HOA is responsible for maintaining. You might just call and ask, but you otherwise need to review those documents.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: In VA if a spouse dies and gives life estate to spouse of 25 years who isnt on the deed, can that spouse force the sale?

The will leaves all real estate to the 2 daughters. Step mom is quite greedy and is trying to give up her life estate to force the sale to gain a portion of the proceeds....again, the property was not in her name and only in the dads

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 18, 2020

If I'm understanding, that's an interesting strategy with an interesting resulting countermeasure. I am assuming that the property has a mortgage loan (hereinafter M) that the life tenant (L) is supposed to pay. L cannot sell without signature of daughters (D), but L is allowing the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can we remove our absent neighbor's border wall that extends onto our driveway without her permission?

Neighbor has died. Her daughter lives out of town and rents the property. The wall prevent us from full use of our driveway.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 16, 2020

If it is on your property, you may remove it or you may demand that they remove it forthwith. If the property is held by a deceased person, you may need to serve the complaint on the personal representative. But, it is a very wise idea to start with a survey, so you are quite sure the wall is on... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Virginia on
Q: Mom passes intestate in Fairfax Co VA, how can I file her final tax returns after the POA ends?

All assets were liquidated into a POD account years ago, all current income taxes, funeral costs, and debts have already been paid. Only final taxes on bank interest, a modest Social Security income, final IRA distribution costs and the POD account will remain when Mom passes. Does the estate have... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 10, 2020

To give you a decent answer, I'd need to review the complete list of assets to determine whether any probate assets will survive your mother. As you suggest, your focus should be on your mother, and I agree with Mr. Hart that you should turn the details over to a Virginia lawyer. If there... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Uncle owns 1/2 of condo in ocean cityMD, he wants to sell. Property has been paid for by him, and abondoned for 2yrs.

Made several attempts to contact other owner and nothing. Other guy owes $50,000 in back pay. What can we do?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 9, 2020

File suit for sale in lieu of partition and serve the other owner in the manner prescribed by Maryland law, which will be alternative service after first reasonable attempts have failed. Add a count for contribution. In Maryland, venue is a defense, so the claim does not need to be filed in... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Probate, Trusts and an Un-trust worthy executor

My uncle died in Aug 19 leaving his assets divided into 4ths among me, my brother and cousins. My father is the executor and we are estranged. My 25% was put in a trust with my father as the trustee. My father did not tell me of my inheritence I only received life insurance. He seems to be dragging... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 6, 2020

I would certainly recommend that you seek legal counsel, since the trustee and you are adverse. You need counsel to read the Will and the trust to protect your interests and your uncle's intent.

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: The estate consists only of a home in MD. When selling it, does the estate have to pay county & state transfer fees?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jul 2, 2020

Someone has to pay the doc prep., transfer taxes, and release and recordation fees. Usually, that is split with almost all going to the buyer, and the seller’s main expense is the brokerage commission for both sides.

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3 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Is a landlord allowed to ask for rent when the tenant has not occupied the apt in a whole month due to repairs.

We've been out of our apt for a month now because the tenants above us caught a fire. The repairs have taken way longer than they were supposed to and now the landlord is asking for us to pay rent.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 26, 2020

What does the lease say about force majeure, fire, or destruction of premises? What does the local ordinance say about landlord-tenant relations where the apartment is located? Who was at fault in the fire? Who has insurance, and what does it cover?

If you cannot determine the answers to...
Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My aunt and uncle are deceased. They have one living son. Property has never changed names from aunt and uncles.

My cousin would like to sign property over to me. They had no will. What steps need to be taken to do this. Property has no liens or mortgages. I have paid land taxes for over ten years.i live in the property and have all my life. Cousin has no interest in owning home.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 22, 2020

There are likely to be some expenses, but you can probably finance them by taking a mortgage on the property. First, title needs to be in your cousin's hands. Depending on the original names on the title, that may require opening the estate of the survivor of your aunt and uncle, or it may... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Probate and Estate Planning for Maryland on
Q: My mother won't give me my inheritance.

My grandfather left me his guns in his will - he died when I was 10. I was supposed to get them when I turned 18. I'm now almost 21 and she said her new husband wants them, but she's willing to get them appraised and give me the money for them. I told her, I'll get them appraised,... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Jun 10, 2020

Your alternative is to file suit. Since that may seem to be an unattractive alternative, you need to hear you mother as to why she doesn't want you to have the guns. Perhaps you can persuade her that you will handle them safely and responsibly. I suspect that the offer to have her new husband... Read more »

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